Instead of reaching for traditional comfort foods when you feel totally overwhelmed, what if you filled your plate with stress-fighting foods?
These healthy eats may not have the draw of bubbling mac ‘n cheese, but they’ll deliver much better results, especially over the long-term. Think of a calming effect that delivers focus and energy rather than the need for a nap.
A quick refresher on the link between stress and diet: Stress increases the level of the hormone cortisol in our bodies, which in turn makes our bodies crave carbohydrates and store fat around the midsection. So, the best plan is to prevent stress, by practicing meditation, getting enough sleep, exercising, and, yes, eating foods that are linked to mood-boosting, calming benefits.
Add these yummy choices to your regular diet, now.
Delicious Stress-Fighting Foods
Oatmeal (especially made with steel-cut oats) is a source of complex carbs, which help increase the production of serotonin, a chemical known for its amazing mood-boosting and stabilizing powers.
Oats are loaded with brain benefits, but for best results, choose gluten-free. Oats are some of the best foods for improving brain health because they’re packed with B vitamins, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium. These all work together to release feel-good hormones, promote steady energy levels in the body, reduce blood sugar and blood pressure, and can even assist with sleep health and sugar cravings. Choose plain oats (without added sugars) and add in some almond, cashew or coconut milk for a delicious dairy-free breakfast.
- Leafy Greens
Greens like spinach and kale are filled with folic acid, a nutrient that helps maintain normal levels of serotonin (as if you needed another reason to eat them!).
The best food of all must be saved for last … leafy greens are phenomenal for depression. They are high in magnesium, B vitamins, iron, and they promote a happy mood naturally because they contain grounding properties and life-giving properties by nature.
Greens can help stabilize blood pressure, improve healthy blood flow to the brain, reduce sugar cravings, improve amino acid uptake, are high in vitamin C to improve iron spinach, kale, amaranth, coriander, leaf lettuce, celery and herb and spring mixes as the healthiest options.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate (in its super dark, most natural state) has been associated with higher levels of serotonin. It also contains magnesium, which may have an effect on reducing anxiety.
Red, green, and chilli peppers are all high in vitamin C, which has been shown to lower levels of cortisol in the body and reduce the physical and psychological effects of stress. If you hate peppers, nosh on citrus fruits instead.
Cashews are a great source of zinc, a mineral that plays a major role in managing the body and brain’s responses to stress.
speaking of fat…the healthy fats in avocado promotes blood flow to the brain, and the popular fruit is also linked to lower blood pressure.
Avocados are high in beneficial fats for the brain including monounsaturated fats that have been linked to a healthy brain and heart. Avocados also contain magnesium; trace amounts of omega-3’s, B vitamins and potassium.
They contain especially high levels of folate as well, a B vitamin that directly reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes healthy brain function overall. See all our avocado recipes for plenty of ways to use them in your meals, snacks, salad, chutneys etc.
Quinoa’s high mineral content directly plays a part in the release of serotonin, GABA, and even melatonin which can help you sleep easier. Its natural carbohydrates are also slow-releasing which is optimal for blood sugar and a longer lasting happy mood. You can bake with the whole seed, cook it up like rice or soak it overnight with oats for a healthy porridge. For recipe visit FOOD FITNESS page.
- Chia seed
Forget that they are trendy; chia seeds are packed with amino acids, iron, and contain B vitamins that are must-haves for a healthy brain. Because they’re a complete protein they also assist with optimal neurotransmitter function and the production of serotonin in the body.
Finally, they’re a great source of omega-3’s and fiber. Omega-3s help reduces depression, anxiety, and assist with healthy blood sugar levels. When blood sugar falls, insulin spikes and then falls which triggers a bad mood (and often sugar cravings) which creates a vicious cycle in the brain.
- Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds are extremely high in omega-3s, complete protein, and fiber. They are wonderful mood enhancers, and they promote relaxation and happiness in the body. As most people know, hemp is not the same as marijuana and contributes to drug-like properties to the body. Hemp is also one of the richest sources of magnesium and iron that are critical to healthy brain function, and one of the best for improving dopamine production in the body without chemicals or stimulants.
Just add these foods to your diet and remove sugar and refined grains, along with a few others and add a high-quality multivitamin, an immediate relief suffering from depression is observed. Also implement a healthy exercise routine which is recommended for optimal brain function since it stimulates feel-good hormones in the body. You can be medication free since. Again, mental illness is not to be taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes even natural options do not work for some people and further help will be needed.
However, if you suffer from depression and think there is no way out, please give natural options a try first. Nature is more powerful than we will ever know and our bodies are capable of so much when we give them exactly what they’ve always needed from the start.
Connect FOOD FITNESS to know your body type and foods that will help you as everybody is different needs are different, so get Personalized Meal plan to relief stress.